CBA 2024 Board Officer – Candidate Bios

Two candidates shared longer biographies for member consideration – see them both here!

RAE GORDON – running for a second term as CBA President

I am finishing up my first year as president of the Cascade Blues Association and am proud of what we as a board have accomplished. It’s been a great experience working with a dedicated team to preserve and promote the blues, along with volunteers willing to step up and help make things happen. But there is still much to do.

The initiatives I have brought forward to help foster leadership, grow engagement, and strengthen partnerships were well-received and implemented. We established a set of committees to oversee projects, encouraged chairs for events, restructured the BluesNotes, strengthened and expanded partnerships, including the Waterfront Blues Festival, expanded Journey to Memphis promotion and support, and increased membership. I would like to continue this work and solidify this forward motion.

I am someone who not only hears what members and musicians say, but listens and is dedicated to finding solutions to challenges. One example was implementing a drawing for spots to perform at CBA monthly meetings. Through my many years of involvement in the CBA and as a member of this music community, I had heard complaints from musicians who felt like they didn’t get a fair chance to perform.

We created two pools of possible candidates (solo/duo & band) & had one ‘lottery’ candidate perform alongside a CBA-selected act at 2023 Member Showcases. We also deliberately focused on various acts for the CBA selection, including those who never played a CBA meeting before. This new Member Showcase model was established and run by our 2023 Vice President Marie Walters & has been well-received by both musicians and members. I’d like to continue this program into the new year and offer everyone an equal chance.

In 2024, I’d like to bring even more focus to ways to support and grow opportunities for local musicians and venues including monthly workshops, grow the committees, and improve the website and Blues Notes with advertising and calendars.

I ask the membership to consider allowing me the honor to continue the work that I started with this board so future leaders will have an easier journey to preserve and promote our northwest blues.

TIMMER BLAKELY – running for a first term as CBA Vice President

My name is Timmer Blakely and I am running for Vice President of the CBA in 2024. I joined the Cascade Blues Association in 1993 and was nominated for my first “Muddy Award” that same year with “Myrtle Brown’s Destiny.” Since then, I’ve won and been nominated for “Muddies” in a number of categories. My history with the CBA and the Portland Blues Community runs deep. I am invested in our community.

I own Lightning In A Bottle Records, which is a coalition of recording musicians located across the United States. I believe in community.

LIABR was also built to mentor the next generation of musicians. We seek out motivated and talented young musicians with the specific goal of shaving years off their learning curve in a safe, compassionate, and supportive environment. I believe in mentoring.

As CBA Vice President, some of the goals I would focus on are:

  • Growth through a deeper connection to the Portland Blues Musician and Band Community. I feel their connection to the CBA has diminished over the past few years. They are a key component to our community, should be considered as such, and should be reminded of the CBA’s value as a resource to them.
  • Growth through youth outreach. There is a generation of young musicians with no guidance, seeking a productive music outlet. Blues is formatted and a perfect learning environment. Our musician community is well connected and would be a powerful tool for bringing youth into the CBA. And their families would also become part of the community.
  • A commitment to keep the annual “Muddy” awards ongoing. My first major CBA experience was the ‘93 “Muddy Awards”. The level of community that was represented there was a new experience for me. After working as a musician all across the US, this was unique. The annual event embodies that sense of community and it’s rare for any other event to bring the artists and the blues lovers all together in one place like this does. It celebrates the regional exports that make the PNW internationally famous for its blues scene. And, it increases the CBA’s value to the performing music community.

Beyond that, it is my goal to serve at the pleasure of the sitting CBA president and board, assisting them in achieving the goals set by the body.